You Don't Know One-Fifth Of Your Facebook Friends

The average Facebook user doesn't know about one in five of the people listed as friends, according to a survey of more than 1,522 people who use the social network.

The average Facebook user doesn’t know one fifth of the people listed as friends on the site.

That statstic, which the blog ShinyShiny says comes from GoodMobilePhones, jibes with what most of us have observed on Facebook. People tend to put out friend requests and accept them more generously than real-world friendships actually form.

Many folks consider large friends lists as a sign of success; nd there is some truth to the belief that increasing the number of contacts you have can expand your networking toward finding a better job, significant other, sale item and so on.

The most cited reasons that participants in the GoodMobilePhones survey gave for staying friends with people they didn’t actually know were politeness, with 54 percent, and the desire to look more popular, with 34 percent.

The flip side of supersizing your friend list is that casting a wider net can expose you to more opportunities for contracting malware, viruses and spam. This risk doesn’t seem to cross enough people’s minds as they go befriending on Facebook.

We could easily reduce our security risks by deleting that 20 percent of contacts on our lists who we don’t actually know. But perhaps we could do even better by considering deletions of up to 80 percent of the people listed as our friends on Facebook.

The opposite of those we don’t actually know, meaning those we’d consider our real friends, also account for one in five out of the average Facebook user’s contacts, according to the GoodMobilePhones survey. The remaining three-fifths are acquaintances, folks we don’t really talk to.

All of this data confirms something most of us already know intuitively, but it doesn’t seem like something people want to change. Deleting 20 to 80 percent of one’s contacts takes a lot of time, given how the average user has about 100 Facebook friends, going on more like 500.

Does learning that the average Facebook user doesn’t know one in five of the people listed as friends make you want to alter your contact list at all?